Thursday, November 11, 2010

The Remotely Wonderful Wilderness

Heading where we did today was unknown and unchartered territory for me.  For this reason alone, my anticipation level was high.  I did some research on my own about Black Rock Mountain, and when I came across some names of mountains and places in the vicinity, I thought this sounds like more of a Hallowe'en Hike then a Remembrance Day Destination.  We would be driving across the dried up Ghost River, heading towards Phantom Crag with a view of Devil's Head in the distance!

Getting to the trail head was half the fun.  If you check out my Google Map below, you will see we had to drive along a very rocky and bumpy dried out creek bed.  This was after winding our way behind Cochrane, through Benchlands and Waiparous, along Ghost River Road which was pot-holy, holy-moly, what a ride!  I wish I had my GPS running to record our route.  This is the gentle route across the dried Ghost River with Phantom Crag ahead of us.
We reached our parking spot which was right here in the middle of a dried up creek bed.  Our destination was very clear, a tiny brown dot underneath the pink star, which was roughly 5km to 6km away and just over 900 meters of elevation up.  
The first portion was through a forest with a gradual ascent.  I like when hikes start that way, it gives you a chance to build your momentum.  Once through the forest and over some rocky stuff and steeper sections, we took a moment to remember.  After all, it is Remembrance Day and not Halloween.  Adventurer Designer caught me in my moment!  Thank you for the photo!
Before carrying on, we layered up, big time.  It was wickedly windy with quite the wind chill.  From here on in, the scenery was wonderful and almost out of this world.  The snow on the plateau was wind-swept and sparkly.  The lone pinnacle stood at attention and we could see Devil's Head very distinctly in the distance.      
Once we made it up and through the gully and came out on the other side, our destination was very clear.  That still small looking dot on top of the standing alone Black Rock Mountain.  It still seemed so far away!
We took shelter inside for our pot luck celebration.  We were protected from the wind, but it was very cold.  I had all my 4 layers on and could have had more.  Lunch was delicious, colorful and on the decadent side.  It was on the quick side too, but no one complained.  We needed to get moving to get warm.  Before leaving, we got our group shot and I went for a unique summit shot this time around.  
We moved quickly away from the lookout to get the blood flowing and feel some warmth.  We veered off the trail along the edge of the plateau to get some amazing views.  When I looked back and up to where we just came from, all I could say was, well, I was speechless!  I knelt low for balance against the wind for this living on the edge shot.
What a wonderful way to acknowledge Remembrance Day?  
After 5 hours, we were back to the dried up creek bed.  The lighting gave that look of the sun getting ready to set.  It was now time to head home!  This Remembrance Day will be one I will always remember!
It was remote!  
It was wonderful!  
It was wilderness!  
I loved this place!

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